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O'Meara, Kathleen [pseud. Grace Ramsay]locked

  • Thompson Cooper
  • , revised by Maria Luddy

O'Meara, Kathleen [pseud. Grace Ramsay] (1839–1888), writer, was born in Dublin, the eldest daughter of Dennis O'Meara of Tipperary. Shortly after her birth her parents moved to Paris and she did not return to Ireland again. Her mother (d. 1887) received a pension under the second empire because she was directly related to Barry Edward O'Meara, Napoleon's physician in his last years.

O'Meara wrote for a period under the pseudonym of Grace Ramsay. Her English publishers suggested the nom de plume believing, as she noted, that 'the Irish and Catholic ring of my real name would indispose the liberal British public' (Irish Monthly, 531). She wrote stridently Catholic books and her first published novel was A Woman's Trials (1867), in which the central incident is the conversion of an English girl to Catholicism. The Battle of Connemara (1878), set in Paris and the west of Ireland, features a similar theme. Lady Peggy Blake, an Englishwoman, marries an Irish protestant landlord and settles in Connemara. So inspired is she by her tenants' faith and their acceptance of their lot, that she converts to Catholicism. Other novels include Are you my Wife? (1878), The Old House in Picardy (1887), and Narka, a Story of Russian Life (1888).

O'Meara also wrote a number of biographies such as Life and Times of Thomas Grant, First Bishop of Southwark (1874), Frederick Ozanam, Professor at the Sorbonne, his Life and Works (1876), One of God's Heroines: a Biographical Sketch of Mother Mary Teresa Kelly (1878), and Madame Mohl, her Salon, and her Friends (1885). Her short stories appeared in the Irish Monthly, Harper's New Monthly Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, the Catholic World, and The Tablet. She appears to have travelled widely in Europe and visited America, and was Paris correspondent for The Tablet for many years. She never married. Kathleen O'Meara died of pneumonia at her home, 15 rue Washington, Paris, on 10 November 1888. Her last work, The Venerable John Baptiste Vianney, Curé d'Ars, was published posthumously in 1891.


  • Irish Monthly (Oct 1889), 527–36
  • The Tablet (17 Nov 1888)
  • The Times (13–14 Nov 1888)
  • A. Ulry Coleman, A dictionary of nineteenth-century Irish women poets (1996)
  • S. J. Brown, SJ, Ireland in fiction (1915)
  • R. Welch, ed., The Oxford companion to Irish literature (1996)


  • NL Scot., letters to Blackwoods

Wealth at Death

£3110 17s. 4d.: probate, 8 March 1889, CGPLA Eng. & Wales

V. Blain, P. Clements, & I. Grundy, eds., (1990)
Calendars of the grants of probate … made in … HM court of probate [England and Wales]